Adventures From the Middle — a recap

Signing

We’re already deep into October, and I realized I haven’t blogged about my recent book tour with author S.A. (Stephanie) Bodeen.

We paired up our new middle-grade novels (Stephanie’s Lost and my Finders Keepers) and did a DIY tour we called “Adventures From the Middle.” We made it a “drivable” tour – no budget-busting plane tickets. We had a trial run at Chapter2 in Hudson, WI, where Stephanie celebrated her book launch. Then we hit the road.

We logged about 1,200 miles total, going to stores in Minnesota (Barnes and Noble in Mankato, Content Bookstore in Northfield, Red Balloon in St. Paul) as well as bookstores in Wisconsin (A Room of One’s Own in Madison, Book World in Rice Lake, Books and Co. in Oconomowoc.) After those, we did three school visits in Milwaukee.

I tip my hat to …

  • Stephanie Bodeen. A week before our tour, I got an inner infection that causes severe vertigo. Propped up with steroids and meds for nausea and dizziness, I made it through the tour thanks to Stephanie driving, handling all the logistics, coordinating the schedule, hauling my stuff, taking the lead on the presentations, and much more. Bottom line: I didn’t puke in front of 100 students, and we made all our appearances with no delays.
  • All the teachers, students, and bookstore owners who graciously hosted us, in particular John Sanchez from Fernwood Elementary in Milwaukee. Not only is he the school’s principal, he managed to fix our technical difficulties in the auditorium, a process that involved the circuit breakers and bad batteries and cords plugged into the wrong slots.
  • Phoebe at Boswell Books in Milwaukee. She flawlessly organized our school visits and, it turns out, shares one of our guilty pleasures: HGTV’s “Love It or List It.”
  • Starbucks for caffeinated energy.
  • GPS for keeping two directionally challenged writers on time. It failed us only once when it announced we’d “arrived” at a school when in fact we’d “arrived” at a random house.

And some lessons learned:

  • Be wary of staying at a hotel located on a street called “Lovers Lane.” You might discover the building across the street is a strip club. It was, and no, we didn’t check it out.
  • Don’t eat the “eggs” from a hotel’s free breakfast buffet or the pizza-like substance from Speedway Gas. Just don’t.
  • Schedule some free time to celebrate, because you never know when you’re going to hear your book has been optioned for a movie. That’s exactly what happened to Stephanie. Her awesome new YA novel, “The Detour,” has been optioned by Legendary Pictures. Our celebration consisted of racing to a bank to sign, notarize, and fax the contract before our next appearance.
  • Travel with someone who shares your definition of a relaxing evening. Turns out we both like to put on stretchy pants, have cheap food delivered to the room, and read books before turning off the light around 9 p.m. No nightclubbing.

We hope to tack on a few more events before the year ends. I’ll keep you posted.

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